Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bill McBride asks good questions 1-3

1) Economic growth: Heading into 2014, it seems most analysts expect faster economic growth.  So do I.  Will 2014 be the best year of the recovery so far?  Could 2014 be the best year since the '90s?  Or will 2014 disappoint?

A: 2014 will be by far and away the best momentum recovery year in a very long time.  This is easy. Keep this answer in mind when we get to question #10.  The first quarter will shrug off the disappointing holiday retail season.  Besides the online growth was at the high end of projections.  The talking heads will focus on that. 

2) Employment: How many payroll jobs will be added in 2013? Will we finally see some pickup over the approximately 2.1 to 2.3 million job creation rate of 2011, 2012, and 2013?

A: This is tough.  Not a lot of real jobs will be added but that is no assurance that in an election year that lots of jobs won't be reported.  Short answer; No.  Total employment will lag behind growth of working age population.  Even with 2.4-2.6 million, which is my estimate, we will barely eat into the huge gap created by the great recession. 

3) Unemployment Rate: The unemployment rate is still elevated at 7.0% in November. For the last three years I've been too pessimistic on the unemployment rate because I was expecting some minor bounce back in the participation rate. Instead the participation rate continued to decline. Maybe 2014 will be the year the participation rate increases a little, or at least stabilizes.

A: Down.  Pick a down number.  I'll take the under.  There's no way the unemployed pool mix doesn't shrink from getting too old, giving up, getting a crap job, plain old no longer being counted doesn't drop the headline number. 

3a) What will the unemployment rate be in December 2014?

A: Guess?  5.8%.  Headline U-3.


Any other ideas?  The HCN answers were about wolf urine and chipolte and the usual.  In later posts we can discuss questions 4-10. 


Thomas Stone said...

Nice to see some of the old HCN crowd here. Bill does ask good questions and has a pretty good track record on his predictions.

Rob Dawg said...

I wish it weren't necessary but it is a free internet... for now.

I got some great goodies. Big ticket item; a commercial outdoor grill. Nom.

sk said...

For me there's no getting away from saying that those 10 questions are the wrong questions, RD. Its prestidigitation to not even ask certain questions. So I will. So my approach would be - in the context of safety, food, drink, shelter, reproduction on a planetary scale what will 2014 be about ? So far it seems to me that only the Pope is asking questions like these! Who'd have thunk heh ?
Again, on a PLANETARY scale :

1. Safety - overall, not enough. The goal of "leave your door unlocked and let your children play outside" is still wayyy tooo elusive.
2. Food again not enough. the rains were good last year and overall more than enough will be grown but the right types ( meaning tastes good and lots of variety ) ? and distribution will continue to be a problem.
3. drink - Simple water for all still seems unachievable for 2014. Crazy world.
4. Shelter - again not enough for all in the right places. When people have to crowd in megalopolises to meet food drink goals this does out of the window. I see that continuing in 2014
5. Reproduction - on a planetary scale, again the low birth rates in some areas and some sections of humanity are a concern. Diversity is important. No change in 2014 on this aspect I fear.

Rob Dawg said...

You are correct. There are more important things.

TJandTheBear said...

2014 the best momentum recovery year? You'll have to elaborate on that one for me, too. Awful lot of headwinds, but hey, those have so far amounted to the "wall of worry" that stocks have continued to climb.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing the drop in the standard of living has been
accomplished. The economy moves forward but labor
doesn't . At what point does the decline in quality of life
and the increase in the wealth gap tip the scales and drag
the economy down ?

sk said...

Yesss, those questions and numbers are not capturing the standard of living in the USA and in the UK for like for like population segments over the decades. People have made efforts to create indexes for that - I like words and ideas like Happy Planet Index, Gross National Happiness.